Almost every retail and foodservice worker has heard those dreaded words, "I want to talk to the manager!" Sometimes, it can be for a genuine reason, but most of the time, it's not.
Managers on Reddit share the dumbest reason a customer has requested to see them. Content has been edited for clarity.
She Was Promptly Removed
“I used to work in a pub in college, and ended up as a supervisor in my last year there, and I had my fair share of irrationally angry customers and I’m very glad to be away from it all.
Where I worked, we gave free mixers with a lot of our drinks,, basically any spirit, and if you wanted it with something else you paid (i.e. a shandy you’d pay for a dash of lemonade).
The bar staff was mostly good with this, but a few would forget and just charge them for the half and we’d let it slide because whatever, no big deal, the mixers are dirt cheap anyway.
One customer had asked for a pint of John Smiths and as a first for me, a bubbly and Coke, the bar staff rightly put it through as a small red drink and a dash of coke and a pint of john smiths, coming to a grand total of $5.85 for the round. I’ve never seen someone look so offended by a price before – if the poor barman had glassed her, I think she would have taken it better.
She immediately started screaming bloody murder at this poor lad who’d been working there less than two months that he was robbing her blind because yesterday it was only $4.95 (90p mixer probably forgotten) and how she was going to call trading standards unless he brought a manager.
He tells her he doesn’t set the prices, printed out her receipt of what it would be and she still couldn’t understand it, so I made my way down and intervene. In the end, she said he’d overcharged her, I told her they probably forgot to charge you for your mixer yesterday, take it as a lucky win but you’d have to pay for it in the future. She then proceeded to try and take the drink off the bar (I’m guessing to swill me) but I managed to take them away from her before it.
She then proceeded to scream to the bar that we’re scammers and tried kicking over a bolted-down table, at which point she was taken outside while her husband proceeded to look angry whilst being too scared to challenge the six foot tall bouncers.”
Oh How The Tables Turn
“I am a 27 female, and I manage a heavy-duty truck and school bus dealership parts department. We are an OEM dealer for one specific make of truck (think like a Ford dealership, not a Pepboys). One day, this gentleman comes in while some of my employees are at lunch and the others are occupied, so I decided to help him. The gentleman has a make of truck we do not service and have no way of looking up parts for. I calmly explained repeatedly we were a proprietary dealership for a competing make of truck from his own, and without a part number to try to cross-reference his part, or even if he brought the part in for me to match up, I had no way to look up and know for certain what his part was and if I was selling him the correct thing (For anyone who knows anything about parts, he wanted a serpentine belt).
The man continued to get more and more agitated with me, demanding for me to ‘walk into the back and pick any one up off the shelf.’ While I 100% could have grabbed any belt off the shelf, I knew none of the ones I sell would work for his truck, and we have about 60 different belts in our stock to choose from, so it would just be wasting everyone’s time if I did that. But this guy kept insisting, so I kept going into the back to get random belts for him to look at and tell me over and over that – yeah he thinks that might be the one, or maybe not.
So finally after I ask him for the 10th or so time if he even has a VIN number he can give me so I can call the correct dealer to get a part number from them to see if I can cross it, the guy gets agitated with me and asks to speak to the ‘man in charge of this little girl who doesn’t seem to know anything.’
Even at this point, I remained very respectful and explained, that, actually – I was the parts’ manager in charge of this department, so if he had any issues with the service he is being provided, he could feel free to express it to me. He then began raving that the world was going to trash because they let females just do anything these days and who knows what else – I honestly just tried to tune him out. Finally, he turns back to me and demands, instead, to speak with the business owner – someone reasonable that he can express his frustration to. I politely smiled and said of course. I walked around the parts counter, down the hall to our administrative offices, and at this point I was full-blown, ear-to-ear smiling and dying inside to myself. I knock on the door of the dealer principal, explain the situation, and walk with them into the parts department to deal with the disgruntled truck driver.
I walk up to him and say ‘Sir, this is our dealer principal, name redacted, my sister.'”
He Couldn’t Tell Her Anything
“Medical office manager here. We are a specialty ophthalmology office, so we aren’t quick to discharge because patients have very little recourse in our region. A couple of weeks ago, I had to discharge a 70+-year-old male patient due to several harassment claims from multiple employees over the past year. Each time I got a claim, I sent a certified letter to the patient stating the terms: you have three strikes and then you’re out.
First time he tried fondling the arm of one of our assistants who was taking eye photos. The second time, he slapped an assistant in the rear on her way out the door. The third time, he had finished his appointment and was outside, but followed an assistant back inside and around the office telling her how ‘cute’ she is. On top of this, he continually made dirty remarks to staff members for the entire duration of his appointments.
Anyhow, I sent a letter spelling all of this out, and effectively discharging him. Minutes after I put the letter in the mailbox, his 70+-year-old wife called because she wanted to reschedule his next appointment. She never accompanied him to appointments, so she was completely oblivious to the sheer scuzzbaggery of this guy toward our female employees.
I had already effectively discharged the patient in our scheduling software, so I couldn’t move his appointment even if I wanted to (without reestablishing him as a patient) so I told her we were about to have a very awkward conversation.
I didn’t know, honestly, whether it was legal to tell her anything, so I told her he had been discharged, but I couldn’t really say why. I told her I sent a letter, addressed to him, and that it went into great detail about why. I suggested that she speak with him about it after he received that letter.
Of course, she grilled me for information. She asked, ‘Was it because of his conduct toward employees?’
I replied there are very few reasons why we would ever discharge a patient and that that was certainly one of the reasons.
Otherwise, she was trying to squeeze blood from a stone. I wouldn’t tell her anything else because I simply didn’t know where the situation stood in terms of HIPAA and basic professional privacy etiquette. She hung up ten minutes later, angry at me to the point of tears, but also suspicious of her husband of 50+ years.
I bet the conversation at their dinner table was really tense that night.”
He’s No Longer A Regular
“I’ve worked in bars for nine or ten years, from a teen, right through college and even managed a bar. This happened when I was supervisor, not manager.
Real quiet night, we have a horseshoe-shaped bar. When it’s quiet, I like to have one staff member on either end of the bar and one in the middle, so all sides are covered and customers are served as quickly as possible. The regular customers know how this system works.
The girl who was covering the middle of the bar had gone to the toilet/to collect some glasses or whatever. One of the regulars walked up and I headed over to serve him, he refused my service for no apparent reason. As soon as the girl who was originally there comes back, the regular got angry.
‘Where the heck have you been? I’ve been waiting for ages!’ he screamed at her.
She explained whatever the reason was and he’s still shouting, I headed over and ask him politely to stop shouting and asked him what he’d like to drink (again).
He kept on and on and on, swearing at us both, until I told him I wasn’t getting a drink for the rest of the evening and to go home or go somewhere else. The guy gets even angrier, and lunged towards me over the bar with a clenched fist. What he obviously didn’t pay attention to was the shelves above the bar for storing glasses, THWACK. Guy smashed his forehead straight into the shelf, all the other regulars laughed.
He lost his mind, and asks to speak to my manager(who was in sight of the whole ordeal and keeping a close eye on things), and tries to get him to punish me for causing him a ‘serious injury.’ We all laughed in his face, and he sure as heck isn’t a regular in this pub anymore!”
If Only She Was Nice
“Quite a few years ago, I was working at a pizza chain and I had someone call in and ask an employee if we would honor a coupon that was over a week expired. My employee told her we couldn’t honor it, but he would ask me. Before he got the chance to ask me, she decided to make a big fuss, and was fairly disrespectful to my employee and wanted to speak to me about it directly. She complained, saying it was only expired by ‘a few days.; I backed what my employee had told her, we wouldn’t be honoring it.
About 20 minutes later, we got a call from her again and this time I had answered. She didn’t make it the whole way through, asking if we would honor before I told her the answer was still no. We had caller ID, so I knew it was her again.
About an hour after the second call, the employee who took the first call comes back to me, saying there is a woman at the front of the store who wanted to speak to me about him not honoring a coupon. It was the same expired coupon. She told me she would be going elsewhere for pizza from that point on because our service was terrible, specifically that not honoring an expired coupon for a loyal customer (I had never seen her before and we had no records of orders from her) was ‘bad business.’ I told her she was welcome to go elsewhere.
The ultimate kicker was the coupon was for 50 cents off any order. It wasn’t a big deal and I would have absolutely honored it had she not treated my employee like trash on the phone.”
No Wonder Why He Didn’t Get Them For Free
“I manage a movie theater and oh boy, I field stupid complaints all dang day. Being in charge of our customer review responses is a headache and a half, and the discounted days bring in all sorts of crotchety old farts. I had a lady complain that there were children in an auditorium showing a, wait for it, kids movie. When I was nine months pregnant, bitterly fat and waddling, an old man snapped at me for not moving fast enough to serve him a drink. One guy once demanded movie passes because he fell asleep in the middle of the movie and was mad he missed the ending. An elderly couple threw a fit that I wouldn’t accept coupons that were older than ME. And, oh, the attempted scammers.
My most recent instant was just the other night: a man was practically counting the ice cubes that went into his soda cup, and when he said that was too much and my concessionist poured some out, he got angry. Then, when my concessionist asked what soda he wanted, just to clarify, he snarled some variety of the contemptuous ‘What are you, new?’ and canceled his whole order, half of which had been made. Then he left. Then, he came back five minutes later and complained that my concessionist wouldn’t give him the other items for free.
It didn’t actually escalate to calling the manager over, because the second he turned to flag me down he saw me staring at him and realized I had heard the entire interaction and just left, but wow. I gave my concessionist a pep talk and some pointers on how I would deal with a similar situation in the future, and he brushed it off, but why people are like that I’ll just never understand.”
He Was No Longer Their Problem
“I was a team leader for three field insurance adjusters a while ago. To be clear, an insurance adjuster is not the sort of job that ordinarily has escalations.
Occasionally, I’d get a person who was mad about the check the adjuster was trying to cut for them. A lot of people don’t know how insurance works, and many think if they total their eight-year-old car, we’re going to give them enough cash to go buy a brand-new version of the same.
Beyond that, it’s not something I normally had to deal with, which was good because I was out adjusting claims and cutting checks, and trying to hit my numbers right along with my team.
So imagine my surprise when I got a call from one of my adjusters asking me to speak to a customer in person. Wait, what? I am, fortunately, not terribly far away and I had a gap in appointments, so I headed over. This was highly unusual, and this employee was not known for being highly unusual.
This particular adjuster was around 25 and very attractive. She was also highly competent and professional. All of these things are relevant.
This guy dinged up his beater he inexplicably had full coverage on. The cost for parts only exceeded the actual cash value of the car. So, she totaled it and was preparing to cut him a check for a whopping $500 (a minimum our company set for trash cars like this, as giving someone a check for $32.50 is more likely to enrage them).
I should add she did all of this fine, by the book, work while this 65-year-old man with a Santa beard, dirty overalls, and who smelled like feces was definitely harassing her.
He was mad about her rejections of him. He was mad he was only getting $500. He was insistent this trash car of his was worth closer to 5k. Nope.
She needed to close out the case. But the guy was being belligerent and wanted to talk to her boss. She was feeling increasingly unsafe (she was coached following this that if she ever felt unsafe, she should leave immediately and not stay to try to wrap things up), and called me over.
The dude first tried to ‘negotiate’ with me over the ACV of his car. Nope. Then he just wanted me to give him more money out of his loyalty to our company. Not going to happen. Finally, he tells me that he’ll drop the whole thing (and accept the check) if my adjuster agrees to go out on a date with him.
At this point, I’m just done with this dirtbag. I went back to my car, printed the check and brought it to him, told him to sign. I told him he wasn’t getting a date with any of my staff and we were leaving immediately. If we left without giving him the check, there would be no check in the future.
He begrudgingly signed and we departed.
I went back to the office and noted that it looked like he was using his vehicle for hauling, UW followed up and non-renewed his policy. He officially became some other company’s problem.”
This Situation Must Happen A Lot
“I was a manager in an extremely busy and popular restaurant that always went on a wait during every dinner shift, up to three-plus hours during the holidays. We had a strict policy about parties needing to have all their members present to be seated. If we called your name and only three of the four guests were there to be led back, we told them to check back in when they had everyone present and moved on to the next party. Obviously, this infuriated plenty of guests, and I was regularly called to the front to deal with the people who demanded to speak to a manager about it. As an ex-server, I adored this policy and never gave in. I also enjoyed backing up my hosts, who had already refused to seat them and were just doing their trained job.
So one day I get called on the headset to the front, which is mobbed full of people as usual. A middle-aged blonde woman tells me I must seat her party immediately, as she has low blood sugar and must eat right then. (They had just gotten to the restaurant and didn’t want to wait the quoted time.) I told her I am sorry, but I couldn’t do that, as that would be unfair to all the other guests who had been waiting. She then got mad and says we need to have candies or something available for diabetic people who can’t wait that long to eat.
I told her we trust our guests to manage their own health conditions and = there are dozens of other restaurants nearby that had no wait, as well as coffee shops, etc. We were literally in a mall that had tons of restaurants and things around, none of which enjoyed our success, so you could be immediately seated. She continued to yell at me, while I just smiled and held my ground. I thought it was so much fun when this type of thing happened, getting to see the antics of people trying to force their way ahead. Not surprisingly, the host staff always wanted me to come to deal with the guests since most of the other managers hated conflict and would just give in.”
Yup, They Definitely Put Cameras In The House
“I work at a bank, and this lady came in to cash a check she had written from her own account. My coworker was taking care of her while I was in my manager’s office (he was not here today) and I was using his computer since all the other banker stations were taken. Well, when my coworker scanned her check, a note popped up on our teller system saying, ‘check serial number out of range.’ Many customers will start using an old checkbook, so it’s not unusual for this to happen. As long as we verify with the account holder they did indeed write a check out of serial number, it’s a simple user override that does not require any additional work.
So my coworker asked her, ‘Are you using another checkbook than usual?’
She didn’t understand the question and proceeded to become incredibly irate. She complained about how it’s her money and she should have access to it. My coworker never once told her she couldn’t get money out, he just simply asked her if she was using a different checkbook than usual. All she needed to get her money and leave was to say she did write a check from a different checkbook. But nope, this woman clearly did not have enough drama in her life and needed to make a scene.
She didn’t complete her transaction and stormed into the manager’s office. Of course, I had heard the whole ordeal. She started yelling at me, saying she had a problem with the bank not allowing her to cash her own check. I told her we were more than happy to cash her check, we just needed to verify she was using a different checkbook since the serial number was out of range. I’m guessing she doesn’t understand serial numbers on the tops of the check.
She then accused the bank of putting cameras in her house and seeing what checkbook she grabbed. I explained to her calmly, but sternly (this lady seemed like a bratty little nightmare) the bank keeps track of what check numbers she uses for her protection.
I emphasized that aspect, ‘it is a way to protect your account.’ She wasn’t having it, flipped me off and stormed out.
Since then, she has repeatedly called our branch and yelled at each of my coworkers, and accused the bank again of watching her from these imaginary cameras in her house.”
They Thought The Instructor Would Help Them
“I work retail at a dive shop. We get a lot of wealthy, older folks who look to do something adventurous on their vacations. We also get a lot of friends of the wealthy founder of the shop. They like to walk in and drop his name and expect us to powder their butts or get things for free. Unfortunately, the founder feeds into that.
Anyway, this couple and their adult daughter walked into the store and I go over to help them. The couple was already open water certified, but their daughter was not and needed to get set up with her snorkeling gear. I explain what they can about expect to pay and offer some of our different packages. I had a few uncomfortable interactions where they try to barter on prices. Our shop never discounts anything because we’re an authorized dealer of specific brands, and they have a set cost on what they’d like us to sell it for. I explained that to them and they seemed to take it fine. It ta a while to fit someone for gear as well as just chatting with them about SCUBA-related stuff. I spent well over an hour with them. The daughter asks once again if we offer military discounts. I explain unfortunately not and move on.
This was in the summer during a weekend, and on those days, we have dive certifications at a lake an hour away. The specific instructor performing them this day is a good friend of mine. Turns out the couple had him as an instructor. Pretty soon the husband name-drops him and says the instructor offered to give him a discount. I immediately knew it was absolute nonsense. Very few people have the authority to discount anything, and most certainly not instructors. I offer to verify this by calling the instructor, but explain I may not be able to reach him because he’s performing certification dives. After a few minutes of trying, I get a hold of him and explain the mess going on. The family was now getting pretty antsy that I’m not rolling over and giving them a discount.
The instructor has me pass my cell over to the husband and he walks away to chat with him for a good few minutes. Pretty soon, he hands my phone over to my coworker and they all walk out without saying anything. Mind you, everything has been rung up and loaded in bags and we were just waiting for payment. I talk again with the instructor and he says he has no idea why they thought they could get a discount and that the couple is absolutely loaded and it’s not like they wouldn’t be able to afford it.
Unfortunately, we get a lot of entitled customers.”